Friday, February 22, 2008

Damn the Man!

So, just as an update, I have spent the last week basking in the glory left behind by my successful Valentine's Day smackdown. Unfortunately, I had a very busy week and could not fit in another project. But please don't worry my little peaches, I have some great ideas brewing in my devious skull of some Guerilla Media projects of fantastic proportion.

Since I don't have any of my crazy antics for you to witness just yet, I thought I would introduce you all to a group whose work has caused a stir all over bookstores and the web. The Ministry of Reshelving is a group who, like myself, has taken the words and images received by the Media quite seriously. They are a group whose sole purpose is to reshelve George Orwell's book 1984 away from the Fiction section of big name bookstores into sections they feel better suits this literary classic. I found out about this group several years ago while working at Borders. Usually around the end of summer, high school kids living in San Francisco would come to the store to buy their books for that semester. One of the most popular reads for a high school student is 1984. When asked for this book, I would run over to the Fiction shelf to grab one and would find a large empty space. Puzzled by the empty shelf and the computers inventory showing 10 copies, I would give up. Later while reshelving books left by the masses of SFSU students who crowd the store and leave their mess behind, I would find copies of 1984 left here and there. Sometimes in the Sociology section, other times in Politics & Government, and even in Business. This became a trend, and at least once a week I would find the book missing from the shelves. Sometimes the manager would notice and send the staff on a man hunt for George Orwell. Myself and co-workers would get annoyed and vent to each other about the kind of losers who come in just to switch around some books. It didn't make sense to me, and all I could see was that it made my job harder. Only later we found out more information regarding these small-time crooks. Inside the books were small notes to the reader explaining that the "Ministry of Reshelving" was responsible for its relocation. Even though I found it quite annoying at the time, I have since changed my opinion of the group. I think their efforts to create their own small movement is the kind of work that inspires people like myself to do the same. Although their work never sparked any massive change (Borders never took their advice and re-located the book to another section), their work was noticed. Just try to Google "Ministry of Reshelving," and tons of topics will pop up. Here is just one article about the group. If the topic interests you, which I hope it does, here are some pictures of the group in action. I think their work is just another example of Guerilla Media, and incentive for other people to join in the fun in creating new forms of sharing information and opinions.

1 comment:

John Eightclip said...

Yah thats a good one. I know its not really as socially significant and probably way too popular. I really dig the Improv Everywhere group though. I don't know why, but they just pick the weirdest stuff to do and somehow make it look pretty beautiful.